Vaccination can be a hot topic whether you are talking about children or dog vaccines. Should you get your dog his yearly shots? Really the choice is yours, just like when it comes to your kids. No one is going to force you to vaccinate your dog…to an extent. Your town will likely require a rabies vaccination though. If you plan to board your dog they will most likely require proof of Bordetella, commonly referred to as kennel cough. The others are up to you, but they do have benefits. Here are a few that I would not skip out on for my dog.
Important Dog Vaccines You May Not Want to Skip
Rabies: I hope this dog vaccine is a no brainer for you, as rabies is 100% fatal for dogs. There is no treatment for rabies, only prevention in the form of a vaccination. You may think, ‘My dog is always with me, she never goes out on her own, so I don’t have to worry about rabies’. The reality is you just never know what can happen even when you have your dog on a leash. Puppies will get this and then again one year later. After that booster shots are recommended every three years.
Distemper: This is an airborne disease that can cause permanent brain damage, as well as other problems. Airborne scares me, as well as brain damage, so I would be getting my dog this vaccine. He gets a series of three doses as a pup and then boosters every three years as an adult.
Parvovirus: I thought my Chiweenie had this scary virus! I was driving across country and she started having bloody stools, and I don’t just mean a little blood, I mean she was pooping blood. Thankfully my traveling companion was a Vet Tech. We monitored her for severe vomiting (which she did not get).
Parvo is very contagious and is fatal if untreated. Luckily, I think it was just a case of her being in the car for too long and not eating well. However, this is another vaccine I wouldn’t think twice about giving to my dogs. As a puppy it is given in a series of three doses and then a booster one year later, and every three years following.
Lyme: Another dog vaccine I won’t question, but that is because I live in a highly tick populated area. Ticks are so small, sometimes you do not even notice them until they have attached and are sucking blood, by then it could be too late. My mother-in-law has Lyme disease. It attacks the nervous system. There is medication to treat Lyme, but it is best to avoid it, especially if you live in a high tick area.
Leptospirosis: This, like Lyme, might only be offered if you live in an area where your pet will be exposed to rodents and standing water. If your dog is going to be going out on his own and you live in the woods or near a place where he could find standing water like a pond, I would suggest you opt for the preventative measure. If infected, your dog could end up with muscle pain and fever or worse, end up bleeding from his lungs.
The debate is the same when it comes to vaccines no matter if you are talking about humans or animals. We all care about our pets and want them to be safe. Giving your dog a vaccine does not mean he will come down with that disease, or symptoms of that disease (sort of like how many think of the flu vaccine).
Are there dog vaccines you have opted out of for your canine companions? What was your reasoning? Share your feelings about vaccines and dogs below!